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Olympus SP-500 Ultra Zoom Review

Review Summary
Reader Score: 7.61 (out of 10)
Hands-on Preview: This has been a year of a return to quality design and execution for Olympus, and it shows again in the SP-500UZ. The Ultra Zoom line of cameras was remarkable when it debuted, offering surprisingly long zooms that were unsurpassed by any other digital camera. Over the years, the UZ line got smaller and smaller, and lost its large grip, which was a major feature of digicams of the day. Up to last year's introduction of the C-765, they'd lost the ease of AA rechargeables as well; but the new SP-500UZ brings all of that back. It has more of the raw camera feel we're used to getting from the company's higher-end line, like the C-7070, yet it's still small and light.

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Other Reviews For This Model

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Photoxels 8.67  01-23-06 Read Full Review
"The Olympus SP-500 UZ replaces the Olympus C-770 UZ (minus the hot shoe), the last model of one of the most popular ultra zoom series starting back with the C-720 UZ. The Olympus SP-500 UZ has 6MP resolution and a 10x optical zoom. Optional wide-angle and tele converters extend that reach from 26.6mm to a whopping 646mm.

The Olympus SP-500 UZ is well designed, enjoyable to use and very easy to get good pictures with. More importantly to the serious amateur photographer, the wide range of features means that this fine digital camera will take a long time to outgrow."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Megapixel 8.00  11-08-05 Read Full Review
For those willing to trade a couple of million pixels of resolution in exchange for a big 10X zoom, the 6-megapixel Olympus SP-500 UZ may be an interesting alternative to the 8-megapixel SP-350 as it carries an identical price tag. Indeed, although organized slightly differently, the SP-500 UZ offers very similar features to the SP-350 making it comparable in many areas.

Ergonomically, the SP-500 UZ offers a bit of a mixed bag. While it provides a high definition electronic viewfinder, it has a relatively low refresh rate and its image can become choppy when the subject is moving rapidly. Likewise, its exit pupil lacks a rubber eyecup to help seal out external light, a problem that is exacerbated when the user has to wear glasses.

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Digital Camera Info 6.67  12-10-05 Read Full Review
Olympus announced the SP-500 UZ digital camera in late August 2005, heading their new SP series. The 'UZ' refers to "ultra zoom;" this camera aims to make an impact in the increasingly popular ultra zoom segment of the digital camera market with its 10x optical zoom lens. The lens cannot be detached, but will accept conversion lenses when increased magnification or viewing angle are sought. The SP-500 UZ packs 6 megapixels and 27 shooting modes, ranging from fully manual to specific scene modes into its compact SLR-shaped body. The 4.15 x 2.93 x 2.8-inch digital camera applies a 2.5-inch LCD screen with 115,000 pixels as well as an electronic viewfinder, providing users with multiple means of composition and image review. Also capable of recording VGA video at 30 frames per second, this ultra zoom aims to be the all-in-one solution for a wide range of photographers at a relatively low retail price of $379.99.

The Olympus SP-500 UZ has a cheap plastic body but includes a lot of nice features and manual functionality at a very reasonable $379 price. With 6 megapixels, this digital camera has a complete set of recording modes: manual, priority, automatic, movie, and an extensive list of 21 scene modes. These are complemented by the Olympus ED 10x optical zoom lens that works in the movie mode as well as the still image recording modes.

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
DPReview 6.00  02-06-06 Read Full Review
The six megapixel Olympus SP-500UZ offers a 10x zoom, full manual control, RAW capture and a wealth of photographic and digital features. With a feature list as long as your arm, lots of beginner-friendly scene modes, a predictive AF function, a nice 2.5-inch screen and a 3cm macro mode, the SP-500UZ certainly seems to offer an excellent 'bang for your buck', but is it good enough to compete in such a crowded area of the market?
Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
DCResource 5.00  02-01-06 Read Full Review
"Olympus began building memory into their cameras last year, instead of including a memory card. The SP-500UZ has just 10MB of internal memory (which borders on absurd), which holds just two photos at the highest JPEG quality. That means that buying a memory card is a must, and I'd recommend a 256MB or 512MB card as a good starter size. The SP-500 uses xD Picture Cards, which tend to be a little pricey. Olympus doesn't say if the camera takes advantage of their high speed xD cards.

The Olympus SP-500 Ultra Zoom is a run-of-the-mill camera in a category with some very strong competition. While it has some nice features, the SP-500 lags behind what is offered by other manufacturers, with the most notable thing missing being image stabilization."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Digital Trends 5.00  12-14-05 Read Full Review
"The black-bodied SP-500UZ is very compact for an ultra-zoom digicam. Made primarily of plastic, unfortunately it has a chintzy feel. Guess when you're making these things in Indonesia, it's hard to ship metal to that Third World country and still keep prices down. The camera measures 4 x 2.9 x 2.8 (WHD, in inches) and weighs 13.4 ounces loaded with four AAs and xD Picture card. It does have a comfortable, sturdy grip. Yet your proof is in the holding-you really have to do a hands-on test with this or any other camera you're considering.

The 10x Olympus SP-500UZ is in the thick of a tough fight with Canon, Kodak, Konica-Minolta and Sony, all battling for photographers who want powerful zooms that are great for all-around use, especially vacations. It has some good things going for it and some negatives. Most you can live with but I had a tough time dealing with the uneven focusing."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
DigiCam Review -----  03-23-06 Read Full Review
Review: "Announced on the 29th of August 05, the Olympus SP-500 Ultra Zoom is a new 6 megapixel digital camera with a 10x optical zoom ED lens. The cameras 10x optical zoom lens is equiv. 38-380mm on a 35mm camera. The Olympus SP-500 is available from around £199, this makes it good value for money for an ultra zoom 6 megapixel digital camera.

The Olympus SP-500 Ultra Zoom is an appealing digital camera, it feels very comfortable in hand, and produces very pleasing (saturated) colours, with generally low noise. The screen and electronic viewfinder let the camera down due to the screens low resolution, and the electronic viewfinders small size. This camera is easy to use (in auto mode) especially with the built in help guide, although it offers a mixed bag with regards to camera speed."

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